Opposition parties hail Supreme Court verdict on electoral bonds, say will ensure transparency


NEW DELHI: Leaders of several opposition parties on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court verdict striking down the electoral bonds scheme and termed it an important step in ensuring transparency in electoral funding.

The Congress said it will reinforce the power of votes over notes, with party president Mallikarjun Kharge hoping the Modi government will stop resorting to such ”mischievous ideas” in future.

The BJP, however, alleged that the opposition parties are politicising the issue as they do not have any alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

The Supreme Court in a landmark judgment delivered a big blow to the government and annulled the electoral bonds scheme for political funding, saying it violates the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the right to information.

Kharge said the Congress had called the scheme ”opaque and undemocratic” when it was launched. Subsequently, in the 2019 manifesto, the Congress promised to scrap the Modi government’s ”dubious scheme”.

”We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court which has struck down this ‘Black Money Conversion’ scheme of the Modi government, calling it ‘unconstitutional’.

”We hope that the Modi government will stop resorting to such mischievous ideas in future and listens to the Supreme Court so that democracy, transparency and level-playing field persist,” the Congress chief said.

Reacting to the verdict, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, ”Another proof of Narendra Modi’s corrupt policies is in front of you. The BJP had made electoral bonds a medium for taking bribe and commission. Today a stamp has been put on this.” The long-awaited verdict is hugely welcome and will reinforce the power of votes over notes, said party leader Jairam Ramesh on X.

Party spokesperson Pawan Khera said, ”We, as a nation, stand strengthened and encouraged. Today, we stand vindicated.” He charged that the electoral bonds were ”a wilful tool of concealment, of absolute exoneration from political accountability”.

Defending the electoral bonds scheme as a measure brought in to bring transparency in electoral funding, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said his party respects the Supreme Court verdict.

Noting that the verdict has been delivered by a constitution bench of the apex court, he said the judgment runs into hundreds of pages and requires a comprehensive study before a structured reply.

Taking a swipe at the Congress which had alleged that the bonds could also work as a bribe to the ruling BJP from corporate groups, Prasad said the parties whose ”DNA is based on corruption and bribery” should not level such charges against the BJP.

”Any order of the Supreme Court or its judgment has to be accepted and respected. But those political parties who are trying to politicise it are doing it primarily on the grounds that they have no alternative to Modi ji’s leadership,” said BJP national spokesperson Nalin Kohli.

Welcoming the judgment, the CPI(M) said it was an ”unscrupulous scheme designed to help the ruling party” and it was now essential to introduce reforms for political and electoral funding.

”The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) hails the historic judgment of the Supreme Court which has struck down the electoral bonds scheme as unconstitutional. By this verdict, this unscrupulous scheme designed to finance the ruling party by anonymous corporate donors has been scrapped,” the party said in a statement.

”It is essential now that reforms for political and electoral funding are introduced to ensure transparency, clean funding and a level playing field,” the left party said. CPI general secretary D Raja said his party welcomes the judgment declaring electoral bonds as unconstitutional. ”We opposed electoral bonds from the very beginning and never accepted funding through electoral bonds. We are ideologically against corporate influence in elections.

”We demand that details of funding through electoral bonds be made public by the Supreme Court to expose the crony capitalist nexus of the BJP. In the past decade, BJP has time and again tried to corrupt and compromise our electoral system,” Raja said.

The Aam Aadmi Party welcomed the decision saying it is an important step in ensuring transparency in election funding.

”We welcome this decision. This is an important step in the transparency of election funding,” Delhi Cabinet Minister Atishi said.

The ruling DMK and the opposition AIADMK in Tamil Nadu too hailed the verdict, with Chief Minister M K Stalin saying it has restored democracy and level playing field for all political parties besides ensuring the public to have faith in the system.

”This will ensure a transparent electoral process and the integrity of the system,” he said in a post on X. AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami said his AIADMK was the only party that did not receive funds through the scheme. He called for exposing all those parties that received hefty sums through electoral bonds.

The TDP too welcomed the SC decision and targeted the ruling YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh, asking it to reveal details of funds it allegedly received through this.

Electoral bonds were issued as a financial instrument for making donations to political parties as first pronounced by the finance minister in the Union Budget 2017-18.

Source: Press Trust of India

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